Laundry Manager Using Abacus
Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies

The first documented hand laundry operative opened in Philadelphia in 1871. Laundries were common and served both the Chinese and non-Chinese communities. This picture shows the front desk of a hand laundry. The washed clothes are wrapped in brown paper, labeled, and stored on shelves behind a man using a traditional Chinese calculating tool -- suapan -- to do his accounts.

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